Updated 03 December 2020
If you are seeking a divorce in England or Wales, you will need to apply to your local divorce centre.
First of all, search for your nearest centre using the government’s Court and Tribunal Finder. Your next step is to download Form D8 (you can request Form D8 in another format if necessary) and complete it.
To file for divorce, you must send to the divorce centre:
N.B. If you have low income and savings then you may be eligible for help with court fees.
You may notice that Form D8 also lets you apply for a ‘judicial separation’. This is where the court enforces that spouses/civil partners must live apart and have separate assets, while legally remaining married. Judicial separations are very rare and are usually only requested for religious reasons, or if the couple has been married for less than a year.
The information you provide on Form D8 will be used by the court to decide if you can legally end your marriage or civil partnership. Your spouse/civil partner will also receive a copy.
The form is composed of eleven sections. Many of these ask for straightforward information such as details about yourself and your spouse, details of any solicitor who is acting for you, and information about the marriage or civil partnership. These sections should in most cases be easy to fill in.
However, there are a number of sections of Form D8 that may be more challenging to understand and complete. These are covered in the tips below.
Here are some helpful guidelines for filling in particular sections of your divorce petition.
Your divorce centre must be one that has legal power (‘jurisdiction’) to deal with your case. Whether or not it has this power may depend on where you and/or your partner live.
For example, if you both live only in England or Wales, then a court based in England or Wales will have the necessary jurisdiction. However, if either or both of you live in another country some or all of the time, then it may be that another court has jurisdiction instead. The questions in section 5 aim to establish this information.
If you’re not sure how to answer any part of this section, ask your solicitor.
Legally there are only five reasons for which a divorce can be granted. These grounds for divorce include:
You only have to tick one reason (though you can tick more). You must then provide further details in section 7. You can find out more here about the accepted reasons for divorce.
If your reason(s) for divorce include separation, you must provide the following dates:
Both dates must be at least two years ago (or at least five years ago if the grounds are five years’ separation). If you have lived together as a couple for any periods since first separating, give these dates too.
If your reason(s) for divorce include adultery, behaviour or desertion, you’ll need to give brief details in the space provided on the form.
In adultery cases, you don’t have to name the person with whom your spouse/civil partner committed adultery. However, if you do choose to name them, you’ll also need to complete section 8.
You only complete this if your spouse/civil partner has committed adultery and you wish to name the other person involved. You should only consider doing so if your divorce case is likely to be disputed. Otherwise, it’s usual to let them remain anonymous.
Not every divorce involves a dispute about finances. It is often possible (as well as preferable and much cheaper) to decide privately with your spouse/civil partner how to divide your shared assets between you.
However, it may not be possible to reach an agreement, in which case you can ask the court to decide for you. To do this you must use this section to apply for a financial order. You can request a financial order that covers yourself, your children, or both – just tick all that apply.
If you don’t want a financial order, tick ‘No’. You can change your mind later, unless you remarry in the meantime.
This section summarises the key points of your divorce petition. Make sure that the information you give here matches any information you’ve provided in previous sections.
It also include the Statement of Truth that you (or your solicitor) must complete to confirm that all the details are true.
If you want your spouse/civil partner to pay the costs of the divorce, then complete point 11.2. This submits the request, though it does not guarantee that it will be granted. Note that this would involve only the costs of the divorce process itself, not any disputes about finances or children.
Once you’re satisfied that the form is complete, just send it with the relevant documents to your local divorce centre.
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